Domestic violence is pervasive and often is perpetrated by an abuser who is intent on control using threats of violence and physical and emotional abuse to intimidate a victim. An abuser may also target children in the home in order to control a spouse who may just try to go-along-get- along to keep the attention off the children until they muster the wherewithal to get out.
Many parents find themselves leaving an abuser more than once. Single parenting is tough on a mom or dad and the kids, and many victims hope things can get better especially when the abusive spouse expresses remorse and a commitment to change. However, in too many cases the abuse continues and a spouse and his or her children may finally break away, ready to start a new life free from abuse. However, the abuser might have other ideas.
Unfortunately, just when a victim thinks it’s over, their ex may enter the picture again by suing for custody rights. Domestic violence experts say it is very common for an abusive spouse to seek custody simply to regain control. Coercive control is not limited to physical violence after all; it includes harmful tactics like stalking and mental, emotional, financial, and legal abuse. If an abuser can keep their foot in the door by gaining custody and visitation rights, he or she can continue to harass and control the other parent and manipulate or hurt the kids.
The idea that an abuser will be awarded parenting responsibility and perhaps even equal parenting time is in stark contrast to what most people, including victims, believe. Many assume that a victim subject to repeated abuse will be awarded primary custody of the children after fleeing an abusive spouse; however, even a recent American Psychological Association study acknowledges, that in the absence of compelling evidence, family courts do not necessarily consider the history of abuse, instead favoring the idea that having both parents is in the best interest of the child. To top it off, it is almost certain that an abusive spouse will come in ready to fight – even going so far as to characterize the victim as unfit or undeserving of sole custody, winning over the court simply because they made the effort to spend time with their children.
When You Have Questions About Child Custody in Domestic Violence Situations
Contact an Experienced Wisconsin Spousal Abuse Attorney for Answers
Those in abusive relationships know what they are up against – they’ve lived it. They know their abusive spouse or partner will go to great lengths to maintain control, but what they may not realize is there are people and services dedicated to helping victims of abuse and their children move on from abusive situations. The domestic violence attorneys of Probst Law Offices are committed to helping victims of abuse exercise their legal right to safety and will represent them vigorously in custody determinations that reflect the reality of the situation and the true best interests of the child. If you are seeking a way out of a toxic relationship and have concerns about how you will afford to live, what will happen to your children, or need legal protection from an abusive spouse, contact our office for answers and help right away at 414-210-3135.